McCarthy, Meyer, Wright Named All-SEC

HOOVER, Ala. -- Kentucky baseball juniors Thomas McCarthy, Alex Meyer and Chad Wright have been named to All-Southeastern Conference in a voting of league coaches, it was announced by the conference office on Tuesday morning.

UK’s leading hitter and third baseman, McCarthy was named to the first-team after batting a team-leading .371 overall and a staggering .411 mark in conference play. McCarthy became the first Kentucky third baseman selected to first-team by the league coaches since Jim Lett in 1972. Meyer and Wright earned second-team All-SEC accolades, with Meyer tabbed as a starting pitcher and Wright as an outfielder.  

A native of Corvallis, Ore., McCarthy hit in the middle of the Kentucky order throughout the season while playing third base for the first time in his career. A junior-college transfer from Feather River (Ore.), McCarthy totaled 19 doubles, two triples, seven homers and 39 RBI in 55 games in 2011. McCarthy added 19 walks and eight stolen bases, making 53 starts at third base and one start at second. In SEC play alone, McCarthy batted .411 (46-for-112) with eight doubles, two triples, five homers and 24 RBI. A 6-foot-2, 200-pounder, McCarthy finished the year on a blistering pace offensively, running up a career-long 10-game hitting streak, batting .605 (26-for-43) during the stretch with three doubles, one triple, three homers and 16 RBI. McCarthy totaled 22 multiple-hit games and nine multiple-RBI outings, reaching base safely in 52 of 55 games. With two outs, McCarthy led UK with 31 hits and 20 RBI, batting .413 with two down. He ran up a seven-game stretch at the end of the season with at least three hits, including a 4-for-5, four-RBI game vs. Georgia that included two home runs. His biggest RBI outing came in a win over Xavier, totaling a career-best five RBI. McCarthy finished the year ranking fourth in the SEC in average (.371), fourth in slugging (.581), third in hits (78), third in doubles (19), 12th in homers (seven) and sixth in total bases (122).

Meyer, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound right-hander, was UK’s ace throughout the year, making 14 starts and tossing 10 quality starts. A native of Greensburg, Ind., Meyer finished the regular season leading the conference in strikeouts (110), complete games (four), complete-game shutouts (two) and batters struck out looking (48). Meyer ranked second in innings pitched (101), ninth in ERA (2.94), fifth in opponent average (.222), eighth in wins (seven). Meyer allowed only 78 hits in his 101 innings, with a staggeringly small 13 hits coming as extra-base knocks. Meyer finished the season on a stretch of seven consecutive quality starts, posting a 4-2, 2.18 ERA mark in the last seven games, with three complete games.  In his 10 total quality outings, Meyer totaled a 6-3, 1.88 ERA line, with four complete games and 87 strikeouts in 76.2 innings. In his three-year career, Meyer has fanned 253 in 211.2 innings, ranking fifth in UK history and his 110 strikeouts in 2011 passed Chris Rusin for eighth-best in UK single-season annals.

A native of Paducah, Ky., Wright had a dynamic season for the Wildcats, batting .359 (78-for-217), with 16 doubles, three triples, six homers and 40 RBI, stealing 16 bases. The speedy outfielder hit at the top of the UK order throughout the year while playing left and centerfield, reaching base safely in 53 of UK’s 55 games, including a stretch of 24 consecutive games reaching base safely. In conference play alone, Wright hit .339 (42-for-124) with six doubles, three triples, three homers and 21 RBI, drawing 10 walks to just nine strikeouts and stealing four bases. In his sparkling three-year career, Wright has hit .339 (211-for-623) with 36 doubles, six triples, 12 homers and 100 RBI, stealing 38 bases in 159 games. In UK career history, Wright ranks ninth in average and 13th in hits, needing just 66 hits to break the UK career record held by MLB infielder Andy Green (277, 1997-2000). Wright’s six career triples ranks 10th-best in UK career history. Wright finished 2011 ranking eighth in the SEC in average (.359), seventh in on-base percentage (.449), third in hits (78), 12th in doubles (16), sixth in triples (three), 21st in homers (six), 10th in stolen bases (16), second in plate appearances (262) and ninth in at bats (217). Wright led UK with 24 multiple-hit games, adding nine multiple-RBI outings, finishing the year riding a seven-game hitting streak, his second-longest of the year. With two outs in 2011, Wright totaled 29 hits and 12 RBI.

2011 SEC Awards

SEC PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Mike Zunino, Florida
SEC PITCHER OF THE YEAR - Grayson Garvin, Vanderbilt
SEC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR - Tony Kemp, Vanderbilt
SEC COACH OF THE YEAR - Ray Tanner, South Carolina                                                                 
1B - Aaron Westlake, Vanderbilt               
2B - Scott Wingo, South Carolina                
3B - Thomas McCarthy, Kentucky
SS - Casey McElroy, Auburn
C - Mike Zunino, Florida                 
OF - Mikie Mahtook, LSU               
OF - Preston Tucker, Florida         
OF - Tony Kemp, Vanderbilt
DH - Brian Johnson, Florida
P - Grayson Garvin, Vanderbilt
P - Michael Roth, South Carolina                                
RP - Matt Price, South Carolina  

1B - Christian Walker, South Carolina
2B - Josh Adams, Florida
2B - Alex Yarbrough, Ole Miss
3B - Jason Esposito, Vanderbilt
SS - Nolan Fontana, Florida
C - Tony Caldwell, Auburn
OF - Taylor Dugas, Alabama
OF - Mason Katz, LSU
OF - Chad Wright, Kentucky
DH - Conrad Gregor, Vanderbilt
P - DJ Baxendale, Arkansas; Hudson Randall, Florida        
P - Sonny Gray, Vanderbilt; Alex Meyer, Kentucky
RP - Caleb Reed, Mississippi State

1B - Dominic Ficociello, Arkansas                
2B - JaCoby Jones, LSU
3B - Zack Powers, Florida
SS -  Adam Frazier, Mississippi State
C - Ty Ross, LSU
OF - Tony Kemp, Vanderbilt         
OF - C.T. Bradford, Mississippi State
OF - Andrew Toles, Tennessee
DH - Conrad Gregor, Vanderbilt                  
P - Karsten Whitson, Florida         
P - Forrest Koumas, South Carolina  
RP - Kevin Ziomek, Vanderbilt

P - Sonny Gray, Vanderbilt
1B - Dominic Ficociello, Arkansas               
1B - Christian Walker, South Carolina
2B - Scott Wingo, South Carolina
SS - Nolan Fontana, Florida
3B - Jason Esposito, Vanderbilt
C -  Mike Zunino, Florida                
OF - Taylor Dugas, Alabama          
OF - Mikie Mahtook, LSU               
OF - Zach Cone, Georgia
OF - Jackie Bradley Jr., South Carolina